From the front row of tables to the back wall of the balcony, empty seats were hard to find. The listening room at Jazz at the Bistro was at its fullest capacity for Regina Carter's return to St. Louis.
The golden age of hip-hop came to 2720 en masse for a night of nostalgic joy and veteran performances. Even on a Sunday night, the crowd was out in good numbers and started to fill the dance floor as soon as the music began.
Charged with a double dose of youthful spirit and soul, Jesse Dee illuminates the world of rhythm and blues with a joyful array of captivatingly fresh lyrics laid over brightly polished grooves.
Far from the wild world of politics, the Polish Ambassador forms an alliance between the many styles and subgenres of electronica, leaving even the scholars of the scene debating whether that last track was psychedelic glitch step or down-tempo electro funk (and both were right). Decked out in his trademark yellow and blue jumpsuit, David Sugalski comes to every show to slice, cut and mix tracks that deliver danceable, feel-good grooves.
The summer has come to a close. The days are shorter, the autumn breeze blows colder and the long wait for opening night at Jazz at the Bistro has finally ended. To kick off Jazz St. Louis's 19th season, the highly influential Yellowjackets have returned to this intimate setting to dole out four nights of modern jazz and fusion.
The crowd seemed sparse as the showtime approached, but appearances can be deceiving. Locals Mathias & the Pirates took the stage to open the night, and by the close of their first song, the wallflowers had emerged from the booths and shadows and the influx of returning smokers filled the gaps to stuff the floor with a crowd even headliners could appreciate. By the time Dessa took the stage, there wasn't a straggler in the room and all eyes were fixed on the Firebird stage.
Without introduction, a drop in the lights or even stray clack on the drums, Steve Marion took a power stance and drew the mingling crowd to the dance floor with a single chord from his guitar.
The stage of the Old Rock House was flush with microphones, creating a fence of stands along the front edge as the early-bird patrons picked out a table, a drink and a bite to eat before the show.
The world of jazz is expansive and limitless. It combines elements from every style of music that it encounters, generating a sound that belongs entirely to the musicians on stage and those privileged enough to share the experience. Wednesday night, the most knowledgeable of Jazz at the Bistro's regulars joined the Lionel Loueke Trio for a set that was as diverse as it was original.